A wrap around is a way players try to score goals in ice hockey. Unlike many scoring opportunities in the game, this strategy is dependent on timing rather than accuracy. To score a wrap around, a player must sprint behind the net from one post to the other before the goalie can adjust. If the skater successfully gets around the net before the goalie can switch posts, they can just slip the puck into the net for a goal.
Along with the goalie in the net, the offensive player must also take account of the defense. If a defensive player notices the wrap around attempt and reaches the player before they get to the other side of the net, they can lay a hit on the player going full speed in the opposite direction. These hits make a wrap around a high risk, high reward play.
The size of the net has a great impact on how many goals are scored on wrap arounds. When the NHL made the net narrower and more shallow before the 2013-14 season, wrap around goals increased greatly. This change occurred, despite less ice to cover for the goalies, because the shallowness of the net makes it easier for the offensive player to cross the back of the net quickly.
Because of the skill and speed needed to execute a wrap around, this type of goals do not account for much of the scoring pool in the NHL. Only about one percent of goals are scored using wrap arounds today. This number pales in comparison to wrist shots, which account for 49 percent of the goals, and tip-ins, snapshots, slapshots, and deflections, which individually account for around ten percent each.
Timing is essential for goalies to stop wrap-around goals from occurring. When a goalie defends a wrap-around attempt, there are also different ways offensive players can take advantage of the situation. The player can pass the puck for a quick one-timer, or, if the goalie commits too hard to one post, the skater can try to slip the puck towards the far post and score that way. This variety of options means the goalie must be very aware of the offenses' movements to successfully prevent a goal.
Speed and agility are essential to a player's wrap-around skill, so the fastest skaters have an advantage. Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders won the Fastest Skater competition during the 2020 All-Star Skills Competition. Before this year, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers won the competition three years in a row, making him also one of the fastest skaters. Along with these two, Nathan MacKinnon and Chris Kreider are always considered some of the fastest players in the NHL.